Well, with the Southwest divison previews complete, let’s look at the Division as a whole, where they are going and what they are hoping for this year.
1. I like the Spurs to take the Division again, but the problem again is, can they survive if Timmy goes down? Can this franchise survive without Tim? Parker can be replaced- the scoring by Manu and vice versa, but Diaw and Blair are not replacing the best power forward of all time. The Spurs are not adding aging players chasing a ring, take Ray Allen (Miami) and Grant Hill (LaC) adding either or both these players could have pushed the Spurs over the Thunder as the second best team in the West, add Elton Brand (Dal) for a CHEAP price, and for the drop in salary Tim Duncan took this offseason, they could be a legit challenger for the Title. As is? They are like a baseball team, slapping base hits and hoping to still have the runs when the other team launches backtoback homers.
2. Dallas. The Mavs keep waiting on that Home Run free agent, but to be honest, with Dirk personality, I don’t think Dwight Howard is the best pairing for him. CP3 should be the top target, not DH, even though I have a better chance of taking over Broadcast.com than the Mavs do of taking away CP3. Dirk is the key, yet is starting to slide, Jason Terry is going to be missed, even though his defense is only slightly better than mine. Kaman and Brand are a far better use of the dollars than DH will be, if they can get back to something close to their Clipper days. Odd to even think that. The Mavs are going to need a new centerpiece, and fast. I almost think Duncan will be playing high level ball long after Dirk will. The Mavs need to put everything they can into adding Brandon Jennings, then wait for Earl Monroe. Adding Jennings or LaMarcus Aldridge gives the Mavs the next generation. As for this year, the Mavs have a TON of movable parts, and Marion isn’t the smallest of those parts.
3. Memphis. I have no idea what the Grizzlies are going to do long term. If Rudy Gay was more Jordan and less Pippen, He’d be more of a force on the floor but a lesser one on the stat sheet. Problem is, few teams have 2 Alphas they need to get rid of to a smaller market. Again, Gay and Conley simply isn’t bringing Jennings or Parker. Imagine this team if Westbrook had a meltdown and demanded a trade here for those two and picks. The Grizzlies need a dynamic guard to run the lockerroom and the team. The outlook for this team would normally be great, but in the era of the superteam, they need something to yank them by the chain.
4. New Orleans What are they looking for? Healthy knees from Unibrow and EG and quality minutes from Rivers. Trust me, Monty wants NO part of seeing Blake 2.0, no matter how exciting he is. The Hornets would take the next Elton Brand over the next Andrew Bynum. I think Davis can be better than Brand, and with a jump shot, can be the best PF in the division, even if he’s not top 3 in the conference. Rivers is the question mark. Collison can play well, but there’s a reason no top tier team has taken him. When Miami is rolling out Mario Chalmers to combat Steve Blake, something is wrong with DC. I do love Eric Gordon and Robin Lopez. The framework is here, and unless I’m off. This is the last time the Hornets miss the playoffs this decade (or until Davis signed in New York)
5. Rockets. I have no idea what the Rockets are going to do. Even if Lin can run out 22PPG, this team is going nowhere, they lost way too many good parts. If Lin’s a bust, getting 12-15 ppg per 48. This team is toast. The scary part of predicting this team, is I have to think a trade is coming, you don’t dump the players they dumped to build around Lin.
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